The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that a version 3 upgrade to its A+ cut-down computer board first introduced in 2014 has been one of its most frequent requests from makers. With the Pi 3 Model B+ now shipping, the Foundation has filled that gap with the all-new Pi 3 Model A+.

Some projects just don't need to have a Model B+ running the show, but might require similar processing power and wireless networking capabilities in a form factor about the same size as HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) add-on boards. That's what's on offer with the new 3A+.

Makers and tinkerers get the same Broadcom BCM2837B0 64-bit, 1.4 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor and dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN as the 3B+, as well as Bluetooth 4.2 and better thermal management. System memory takes a hit though, with 512 MB of LPDDR2 RAM featured instead of the 1 GB of the 3B+, but "like its big brother, the entire board is certified as a radio module under FCC rules, which in turn will significantly reduce the cost of conformance testing Raspberry Pi–based products."

Elsewhere, the 3A+ has a single USB 2.0 port, full-size HDMI, 40-pin GPIO header and microSD port for loading in the operating system and for local storage. There's a camera port for connecting the Pi Camera Module, and a display port for the Pi Touch Display, too.

The Foundation says that the appearance of the 3A+ signals a "closing out" of the classic Pi platform, and clears the way for what comes next. Whatever this turns out to be, it will require "new core silicon, on a new process node, with new memory technology." That means upcoming products won't merely be updates to previous iterations, but something brand new.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is on sale now for US$25, with an official case to follow shortly. It's not as small or as cheap as the Pi Zero W, but it's good to have more choice, right?

Product page: Pi 3A+

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